New Legislation will See Online Gambling Banned in Albania

New Legislation will See Online Gambling Banned in Albania

When it comes to New Year celebrations, people usually plan to give up junk food, go on diets and generally get healthier and we think 2019 will be no exception to this, but whatever the resolutions will be for Albanian residents, we guarantee you it will involve giving up online gambling…

…On Wednesday 25th October, Albania’s parliament passed a law that will see all online gambling banned in 2019, plus other forms of gambling will be prohibited – but why? This new law will come into effect on the 1st January 2019 as a way of combating gambling addiction and protecting household finances. Not only that, but the government crusade aims to reduce the threat of match fixing in sports betting too.

Over the decades, the country’s sports betting industry has rapidly increased and has an annual turnover of roughly €700 million, which has raised concerns about its impact on low-income families and the integrity of national sport.

The new change will see gambling shops in residential areas closed, but it’s not all doom and gloom, as gambling will still be permitted in designated tourist areas (such as the five-star hotel with casino in the capital if Tirana) and on the outskirts of the main towns and cities.

Operators Seeking Compensation:

Despite the ban coming into effect, the country’s lottery will run as normal, but all gambling websites will be outlawed. Rama, a former basket ball player said;“We are waging a frontal war with the evil entrenched deeply in our society over the years. They might keep changing sites, and we'll keep shutting them down.”For those of you who don’t know, Rama has been actively campaigning against gambling in Albania ever since his socialist party took the reins of power (with a landslide victory) in 2013…

…Rama doesn’t like to sit around, because within 5 months of being in power, he had ordered inspections on a total of 1300 betting shops and he closed many of those down, what with allegations of financial mismanagement.

The Albanian parliament mean business as they have assigned a crack-team of experts who will take down any gambling website who tries to offer gambling services…

…Not everyone is welcoming the new law, especially gambling operators, which is why they have vowed to fight the ban and look for substantial compensation. At first, the sports betting companies had offered to close half of the country’s betting shops and to stop advertising, but this has had no affect on those who passed the damning verdict.

Artan Shyti, the head of a sports betting industry association, told Reuters, "The companies are also evaluating the damages from the unilateral interruption of their licence and mulling legal action to recover the damages.”

Source: Koleka, Benet.“Albania passes law banning sports betting, online gambling” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-albania-gambling-ban/albania-passes-law-banning-sports-betting-online-gambling-idUSKCN1MZ2GRReuters. October 25, 2018.

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